A good workplace is all about solid work ethics. Inculcating in your employees a strong sense of responsibility will have many positive effects on your business going forward. Among other things, it will set in place a work culture that will continue to enrich itself, directly affecting the productivity for the better.
It won’t happen overnight though, but is more than worth the effort. In fact, it’s the best way to make the most of the talent you have recruited and the business you have started. Here are some suggestions to help you along the path.
Start with a vision
Just as you have a vision for your business, you need one for your workforce, too. What kind of team dynamics would you prefer? Vague answers like “I want everybody to get on well” won’t help. Having detailed professional attributes in mind for the employees alongside their job profiles may prove to be more helpful.
Second, you need to take into account your own leadership style. Are you a hands-on manager who likes to be involved with all the major projects, or do you prefer to give people their creative space and only check in from time to time?
Your assessment of responsible employee behaviour will proceed from your own vision and personality type. Articulate this vision to the employees in clear terms.
What does professionalism mean to you? Is it about being punctual, not taking leaves without informing the management, completing work assignments on time, adhering to the dress code, not being wasteful with company resources, all of the above? Every place has its own brand of professionalism. What is yours?
Deal with unprofessionalism swiftly
We hope you have hired the right people. That should mean you don’t have too much of bad or sloppy behaviour to put up with.
But everybody joins a new workplace with their own experience. They bring to you what they have learnt elsewhere, and that may include questionable behaviour that may have been tolerated elsewhere.
If, however, you don’t find a certain type of behaviour professional, you don’t have to put up with it. Unprofessionalism should be dealt with fast or it will reflect badly on you.
Tolerating sloppy behaviour gives out a signal you don’t care about professionalism yourself. That would encourage others to follow suit and may well lead to a larger domino effect. Nip it in the bud.
Help your employees cultivate good workplace habits
Ask them not to be wasteful with company resources. That may include not using the office Internet for excessive personal use, or chatting with friends on the company phone, taking a half-n-hour latte break on company time, etc.
Educate them on the need to observe all the required precautions when handling potentially dangerous equipment. For example, wearing work helmets in construction businesses and work safety gloves when handling toxic chemicals or abrasive surfaces.
Encourage them to bring to the immediate attention of management anything that is off.
Emphasise on team play.
Finally, reward good behaviour
Rewards work remarkably well not just with our canine companions but also with us primates.
Monetary incentives are always the best. But other types of incentives may also work equally well; for example, allowing people flexibility in work hours, or rewarding them with company-sponsored lunches/high street vouchers. Take note of your best performing employees, and learn their personal preferences. Don’t be too result-oriented though (unless you are running a sales company). It’s equally important to recognise and reward good professional behaviour. Conscientious employees are not all that common to come by, so don’t take them for granted.
Conclusion: There are many ways to build a responsible team with strong work ethics but as the owner of the business, it all begins with you. You lead and they follow, which is why it is very important for you to be a thorough professional yourself. We would once again like to stress here that the origins of a good team begin with responsible hiring. It is far easier to hone the professionalism of a good employee than to convert an irresponsible employee into a responsible one. The latter may never happen, so don’t waste your time on bad apples.